Back to Writing / 6-29-2004


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Fetishnation.com creator and photographer Ian Rath captures extraordinary beauty, details, contrast and emotion in his dark fetish and bondage photography. Rath took some time to speak with us about the process of shooting bondage photography. Click the above image to view the gallery.

Eros Zine: You're open about your personal use of bdsm and mind games, and I assume your personal exploration came before your bondage photography. How did it all evolve into fetishnation.com?

Ian Rath: Good question. I'm still trying to figure that one out. But basically, I've been playing with bondage and d/s since my early twenties and I've been a professional photographer since my mid-twenties. I used to shoot bondage for personal art projects, but never thought there was much of a market for it commercially. Then came the Internet and anyone could put up a website. I was kind of pushed into it by friends who were familiar with my bondage and fetish work.

Sez G: Are you the one who ties up your models? What kind of energy does this create between the two of you?

Ian Rath: Sometimes I tie, and sometimes Tess [Rath's partner] ties. It all depends on how we're feeling that day and on our rapport with the girl. As far as energy goes, you always have to be in tune with the person you're tying.

Sez G: Where do you find your models? How well do you know them before a shoot?

Ian Rath: In addition to our friends in the industry, we get a lot of referrals to new models and are actually contacted by lots of models interested in working with Fetish Nation. I only like to shoot girls that like bondage, fetish and s&m. They can be popular, established models or first-time, total unknowns. It's always fun to find a diamond in the rough.

As far as knowing the models, I always ask for a limitations list: what they're good with and what they won't do. It's a very physical genre, so you always have to stay within the model's comfort level.

Sez G: Do you attend a lot of bondage and fetish events? Do you go as a photographer or participant?

Ian Rath: Yes, I attend quite a few bondage and fetish events. I'm not an events photographer. I'm too much of a control freak for that. But I do enjoy a good party.

Sez G: Do you plan your shoots out in advance or is the inspiration purely based on the model and your mood?

Ian Rath: The short answer to that would be "yes." Some shoots are very planned out, but others are based on what the model wants to do or what I'm inspired by that day. It's always good to remain flexible, so that you can be flow with the moment.

Sez G: You do live sessions. How do those work, what are they like, and how is the energy different than in private sessions?

Ian Rath: I haven't done live streams for quite a while now. They were too much of a pain in the ass. I like a very relaxed atmosphere when I work. A shoot should be fun.

Sez G: Do you still do commercial photography? Is it hard to switch back and forth?

Ian Rath: Yes, it was very hard switching back and forth, so I basically quit doing commercial photography and now focus mainly on bondage and fetish photography. I occasionally do some commercial work, but it's more of hobby than a job. Funny how the roles have switched.

Sez G: You mention you're a sci-fi fan. Comics, books, movies? Is there a connection between your bondage photography and sci-fi?

Ian Rath: There's no direct correlation between the two as far as I can tell, but probably back in the deep, dark recesses of my mind, there is. And, by the way, I'm a science fiction fan, as in Isaac Asimov, P.K. Dick, Stephen Baxter and others, not a comic book fan. Not that there's anything wrong with comics. They're just not my thing.

Sez G: What's coming up for you in the future?

Ian Rath: I'm planning on taking the jump to producing videos, feature-length fetish, s&m, bondage films. So let's see how that works out.

Sez G: Anything else?

Ian Rath: Yes, I have lots of dark desires, and I'm inspired all the time, but it's nothing I want to get into right now. Some things need to be kept private. I'm always completely amazed when anyone cares what my opinion or point-of-view is.

Ian Rath - by Sez G.